food

Customers’ Behaviour Changing Sushi Culture in Japan

Kaitenzushi, or conveyor belt sushi restaurants, are one of Japan’s most famous contributions to the dining world. The concept is simple: customers sit around a revolving conveyor belt packed with different sushi dishes, and take the plates they like as they roll by. But now in Japan there’s a new trend that’s threatening to put the brakes on the traditional conveyor belt system. It seems that Japanese customers no longer want to take any dishes off the conveyor belt, instead opting to use it as a giant, revolving display case. Customers are now pointing at the perfectly edible sushi as if they are plastic sushi replicas and ordering them with the wait staff.

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Noodles Go Gourmet: We Sample “Udon Sashimi” in Tokyo

The choices we make in life define who we are. Your friends may not admit it, but when you choose mint chocolate chip ice-cream (and bravo by the way), they’re scribbling a couple of lines about you in their mental scrapbook. When you leave your iPod on your workmate’s car, they’re either nodding along or guffawing as they cycle through your albums before bothering to call and tell you they’ve found it. As a wise man once said, “books, records, films; these things matter.” And noodles, my Asia-loving friends, are no exception. Do you like ramen or udon? Udon or soba? When you take a trip to soba town, to you eat them steaming hot or cold and dunked in mentsuyu dipping oil? If you could only eat one kind of noodle for the rest of your life, which would it be?

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Mr. Sato Takes on the “Mammoth 2kg Fried Chicken Curry”

Super-sized menus have been steadily on the rise in Japan, and one place in Akihabara, Tokyo has upped the ante further. On top of their original 1kg dish, Mammoth Curry has released a 2kg monstrosity of chicken, rice and sauce.

Fresh from the beauty salon, RocketNews 24 Curry Eating Classic runner-up Mr. Sato looks for redemption and has some advice for other 2 kilo curry challengers.

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Newly Opened Café/Bar Shuminova Offers Mini 4WD Races and Nintendo with Your Chicken and Whiskey

Opened on 3 April, Shuminova is a new kind of drinking and eating establishment. It’s named is derived from the Japanese word shumi which means hobby, and the nova refers to the explosion of nostalgia for middle-aged men contained within.

Among the guitars, laptops and game consoles are the main attraction of Shuminova: Tamiya Mini 4WD’s. You can enjoy some tasty food and drink while tinkering with your own customizable car utilizing advice from the owner, a Mini 4WD expert.

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Six Things I Learned at Tokyo’s “Food and Bev Expo”

This week, a major food and drink expo was held in Tokyo’s Odaiba area called The World Food and Beverage Great Expo 2013. It’s actually a combination of six different events, including a dessert and wine fair. With hundreds of exhibitors from Japan and abroad showing off their latest and tastiest concoctions, we decided to check it out and see how many free samples we could gobble up. Here’s what we learned. Read More

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Maid Cafes in Russia are Sad, Sad Places

The below video, which we stumbled through with ears open for loan words like “kawaii” and “product placement,” presumably depicts that most otaku of Japanese exports – a maid café – in the middle of Russia.

The interior’s got style in spades, albeit with weirdly out of place old timey photos and a suspicious lack of vodka bottles (apologies to Russian readers for the ignorant stereotyping).

As far as the food selection goes, the menu’s got Japanese maid café classics such as omu rice, but apparently also some more exotic selections like some kind of taco-burrito hybrid, which the Russian reporter happily digs into.

Most glaringly, the legendary service quality of Japanese maid cafes seems to have gotten lost in translation, as the seemingly only maid on duty lacks any enthusiasm for the job, lazily reciting her lines like she’s been popping valium just to get her through one more bleak day of squirting ketchup squiggles on pimply-faced patrons’ omelets.

Source: Yahoo! Japan

Lifehack for Cooks: How to Remove Garlic Skins Quickly and Cleanly

Ah, garlic. It’s so fragrant and delicious. These days, cooks are using fresh garlic even for everyday dishes because it’s just so tasty and relatively easy to use. There’s just one small problem: getting that papery skin off the clove without ending up with bits of it all over the kitchen! More people would probably use that delicious, delicious garlic if it didn’t make such a mess.

No need to worry about that any more, though, because we’ve discovered a simple tip that will remove those pesky skins cleanly and easily. Read on to discover how. Read More

Turn Your Favorite Lollipops into Ice Candies!

Love lollipops? Love ice-cream? You can now make your own Chupa Chups flavored ice candy! Japanese toy maker Takara Tomy A.R.T.S will be releasing an ice candy making kit this coming 18 April.With the candy kit, making the lollipop flavored ice candy is simple and fun.

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Lunch Exchange: We Taste Test Japanese “Station Bentos” from New York’s Grand Central Station

This year marks the 100th anniversary of Tokyo Station as well as Grand Central Station, New York: two titans of transportation who have served their respective metropolises proud.

To honor this centennial, Grand Central hosted “Japan Week” which drew crowds to the already crowded terminal. Hearing of this, RocketNews24 sent a reporter to investigate the centerpiece of Japan Week; the ekiben counter!

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We Use One of Japan’s Cheapest Corn Snacks to Create Delicious Fried Pork Cutlets

Following the enormous success of our cup noodle gourmet experiment, we decided that it was time to give a couple of other cheap and cheerful snacks an image overhaul by turning them into something a little more glamorous. This time around, we opted for Japanese kids’ favourite Umaibō (lit. “delicious stick”), a 10-yen (10 cents) puffed corn snack that’s available in all manner of flavours. With its dry, powdery exterior and rich taste, we couldn’t help thinking that it might go well with chicken or pork, so we decided to use a few in place of the breadcrumb coating for tonkatsu fried pork fillet.

As it turns out, the result was even more umai than we could have possibly imagined.

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Only 100 Limited Edition Matcha Green Tea Moon Pies On Sale, Cost More Than You Can Imagine

Japan’s version of the Moon Pie, the Choco Pie, is almost identical to the American classic – sweet filling nestled between two pieces of white cake covered in chocolate. They are made by Lotte and have been delighting Japanese sweet lovers for 30 years.

Much like the Japanese versions of Pepsi, Kit Kats and Pringles, Choco Pies are getting a new limited edition makeover. Marketed under the name “Wa Choco Pie” (Wa meaning both “peace” and, in this case, “Japanese-style”), these special Choco Pies have been supersized to 12 cm (4.7in) and filled with matcha creme. However, unlike most limited edition foods in Japan, these special Choco Pies can only be purchased by entering into a lottery draw. They will also be sold for a ridiculous price.

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Catering for men who require a little more titillation than maid cafes can provide but not wanting to step into full-blown fuuzoku establishments, “girls bars” in Japan provide customers with a place to eat and drink while giving them something to look at and plenty of stilted conversation. A cheaper alternative to “hostess clubs”, girls bars are usually staffed by regular college-aged girls who don’t mind showing a little flesh and interacting with customers in an energetic, cutesy manner.

In a slightly different take on the genre, Yokohama’s Sexy Izakaya Natsuko focuses on the theme of summer all year round, dressing its staff in bikinis and sarongs while arming them with tambarines to bash while another member of staff juices grapefruits and serves food and drinks at your table.

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We Prove We Are Culinary Wizards by Turning Cup Ramen Ingredients into Delicious Gourmet Meals

Cup Ramen, known to Westerners as “Grade A college student feed,” is perfectly formulated with enough sodium and other preservatives to both fuel late-night study sessions and cure massive hangovers, but nobody’s ever accused it of being a gourmet food.

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Sakura Mikuman Too Cute to Eat, We Do So Anyway

The long standing collaboration between Japan’s premier virtual pop star and ubiquitous convenience store continues this spring with the Hatsune Miku de Sakura no Uta campaign.

Unfortunately, the campaign has been having a bit of a rocky start with the sexually suggestive Sakura Style Strawberry Cream Bread. So now it’s time to bring out the heavy artillery: Family Mart’s second version of a Hatsune Miku-themed nikuman (steamed meat bun), Sakura Mikuman.

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Otōshi: Japan’s Curious Compulsory Appetizers

As anyone who has ever entered a Japanese-style pub, or izakaya, will tell you, whether you want it or not, as soon as you’ve ordered some form of alcohol, a small plate or bowl will be placed in front of you alongside your chopsticks and hot towel. The contents of said vessel are almost always a mystery to the customer prior to its arrival; it could be noodles, vegetables, fish or even meat. Sometimes it’s piping hot, sometimes it’s as cold as the ice in your Bill Murray-inspired Suntory whiskey.

Known as お通し (otōshi) or sometimes 突き出し (tsukidashi), this appetizer is given to each and every alcohol-imbibing customer, and sometimes even to those only sipping on soft drinks, regardless of whether you’re drinking at a chain pub or a family owned watering hole. The customer has no say whatsoever in what the snack will be, and even if it remains completely untouched it is added to the bill, costing on average 200-500 yen (US$2-5) per head.

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Get Your Dragon Ball Hair Fries at a Mini Stop Store Near You!

In perhaps the most genius use of french fries we’ve seen in years, Japanese convenience store chain Mini Stop has begun selling a number of Dragon Ball-themed sweets and fried foods as part of a promotion for upcoming movie Dragon Ball Z: Battle of the Gods.

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The Onion Tower is Here! Mr. Sato Takes on 100 Slices of Grilled Onion in one Monster Burger

We’ve never been ones to shy away from fast food challenges, and today is no exception. Today may well be Friday to the rest of you, but for the RocketNews24 team, and especially our champion eating machine Mr. Sato, today was and will forever remain the day that we took on the challenge of the 100 slice onion tower.

From the people who brought you the 1,000 cheese slice whopper and the 1,050 rasher bacon burger, we proudly present: The Onion Tower Challenge.

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Floor Space Oddity: David Bowie Café to Open in Ginza for Month of March

Now that everyone has probably sobered up from last year’s Rolling Stones and Suntory collaboration, a new rock legend is bringing a slightly classier offering to Japan.

For just a few weeks of March, in Ginza, Tokyo you can enjoy the sights, sounds, and tastes of the Thin White Duke – David Bowie.

To promote The Next Day – his first album in 10 years – Sony will be converting part of their building into the David Bowie Café with a special selection of food and décor.

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Get Your Fruit for Nothing and Your Veg For Free

It’s famously said that there’s no such thing as a free lunch, and while that may be true, you can at least get some of the ingredients without laying down a penny. We check out a new website that claims to offer free produce, straight from the farmer to you. Swag!
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